Biography of Wole Soyinka:

Wole Soyinka, full name Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, is a Nigerian playwright, poet, essayist, critic, and Nobel laureate in Literature. Born on July 13, 1934, in Abeokuta, Nigeria, Soyinka is one of Africa’s most prominent and influential literary figures. 
Here is a brief biography of Wole Soyinka:

Early Life and Education:

Family Background: Wole Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Nigeria. His father, Samuel Ayodele Soyinka, was an Anglican minister, and his mother, Grace Eniola Soyinka, was a shopkeeper.
Education: Soyinka attended various schools in Nigeria and then proceeded to Government College in Ibadan. He later studied at the University College Ibadan (now the University of Ibadan), where he initially pursued a degree in medicine but eventually switched to English literature.
Early Life and Education - Literary Career - Political Engagement and Exile - Later Career of Wole Soyinka
Biography of Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka’s Literary Career:

1. Early Works:

Soyinka’s early literary works gained attention for their originality and critical perspective. His first major play, “A Dance of the Forests” (1960), was produced as part of Nigeria’s independence celebrations.

2. “The Man Died: Prison Notes” (1972):

During his imprisonment in solitary confinement (1967-1969) during the Nigerian Civil War, Soyinka wrote “The Man Died,” a collection of notes reflecting on his experiences and the broader political context.

3. “Death and the King’s Horseman” (1975):

This play, based on a historical incident, explores the clash between traditional African beliefs and colonial rule.

4. Nobel Prize in Literature (1986):

Soyinka was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986, making him the first African laureate. The Nobel Committee recognized him for his work that “in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence.”

5. Political Activism:

Soyinka has been an outspoken critic of political oppression and corruption in Nigeria. He has faced arrests and exile at various times due to his activism.

Political Engagement and Exile:

Biafran Civil War (1967-1970):

Soyinka mediated between the warring parties during the Nigerian Civil War (Biafran War) and was subsequently arrested by the Nigerian government for allegedly attempting to negotiate peace with the secessionist Biafran government.


After a period of imprisonment and a brief exile, Soyinka returned to Nigeria and continued his activism for human rights and democratic governance.

Later Career of Wole Soyinka:

Teaching and International Recognition:

Soyinka has taught at various universities, including Cambridge, Yale, and Emory.
He has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to literature and social justice.

Published Works:

In addition to plays, Soyinka has published poetry, essays, and memoirs. Some notable works include “Ake: The Years of Childhood” (1981) and “You Must Set Forth at Dawn” (2006).
Wole Soyinka’s literary works, characterized by a fusion of traditional African drama with Western literary forms, have made a lasting impact on world literature. His activism and commitment to social justice have contributed to his legacy as a significant figure in both the literary and political spheres.